AWKA – The Anambra State Government has said the convoy of Governor Willie Obiano was not involved in the shootout between security forces and gunmen who attacked a campaign rally of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ihiala Local Government Area on Tuesday.
In a statement made available to Sundiata Post, James Eze, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Obiano described as false media report alleging that the convoy 9f the Governor was attacked by gunmen.
The full statement reads:
“Our attention has been drawn to the false report in the media alleging that the convoy of the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano was attacked by gunmen today in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“We wish to inform the general public that the report is a blatant lie without a shred of truth in it. The fact is that when some gunmen engaged security operatives in a shootout in Ihiala today, Governor Obiano was attending a pre-scheduled political rally in Ogbaru Local Government Area along with Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the standard bearer of the All progressives Grand Alliance in the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election in the state.
“The Ogbaru campaign was highly successful with a large turn of party members and supporters who came to reassure Prof Soludo and APGA of their support in the coming election. There was not a single incident of violence in the campaign venue and its surroundings and Governor Obiano and his fellow party men and women all went home peacefully after the rally.
“The report that Governor Obiano’s convoy was attacked is obviously false and should be disregarded by well-meaning members of the society.
“Governor Obiano deeply regrets the shootout at Ihiala today and the attendant loss of lives. He calls on all the politicians involved in the ongoing electioneering campaign in the state to join hands with him in calming the political temperature of the state in order to ensure a peaceful and fair election on November 6, 2021.”
A combined team of policemen and soldiers had on Tuesday repelled an attack by unknown gunmen at Odoata Primary School, Ihiala, where the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was scheduled to organise a campaign rally for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
The gunmen came on various motorcycles and in three vehicles, namely, a Toyota Lexus 350 ES with registration number EKY 765 EX, Toyota RAV4 with number JJJ 434FP and a Ford van whose number could not ascertained at the time of this report because it caught fire during the exchange of bullets between the gun men and security forces.
The gunmen, unable to withstand the superior fire power of the soldiers and police officers, quickly ran into the large premises of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital which is directly opposite the campaign ground.
“They suffered serious injuries, even though they managed to shoot a gallant soldier”, according to an eye witness who did not want his name disclosed in the media for fear of his safety.
“If the gunmen had not run into the hospital which is a very delicate place to shoot any person, the security men would have gunned all of them down ”, according to another statement made available to Sundiata Post by C.Don Adinuba, the state information commissioner.
Security forces, who recovered all three vehicles and motorcycles used by the gunmen, were searching the area by the time this report was filed.
The Anambra State Police Command has requested the people in the area to help look out for people with gunshots and report them.
It has also asked hospitals and other health facilities in both Ihiala Local Government Area and neighbouring communities in Imo State to report to security agencies patients with gun wounds.
Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano has commended police officers and soldiers who repelled the attack for their gallantry.
Speaking to journalists at Atani in Ogbaru LGA where he led a large crowd of APGA faithful to welcome the APGA governorship candidate in the forthcoming election, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Governor Obiano described the response of the security men as professional and patriotic.
In the same vein, Professor Soludo, who lost three policemen guarding him when he was attacked on March 31 in his hometown of Isuofia, Aguata local Government Area while addressing the youth of the town, lauded the security forces for bravery.
“These security men and women in Anambra State lay down their lives for us and they do their best because of the encouragement they receive from the security-conscious state government, among other factors.
“We expect more professional exhibition as days go by and the election date approaches”.
The APGA candidate expressed sympathy for innocent victims of the attack, pleading with every aggrieved person “to lay down his or her weapon and opt for dialogue to resolve all differences in the interest of our people”.